American Chemical Society brings regional meeting to CMU
Chemists gather to discuss sustainability; special exhibits open to the public
May 17, 2013 - About 600 chemists gathered at Central Michigan University for the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society May 15 through 17. CERM was held at CMU for the first time in the meeting's 44-year history and was hosted by the Midland Section of ACS.
Chemists attending the conference represented university and college chemistry faculty, chemists from business and industry, and undergraduate and graduate chemistry students from across the Great Lakes and northeastern U.S., according to Philip Squattrito, chairman of the 2013 CERM and CMU chemistry professor.
The theme of the 2013 CERM was "Building Blocks for a Sustainable World," with presentations given on topics such as chemistry and global health, water quality and biogeochemistry. A Thursday symposium observed the 150th anniversary of the discovery of organosilicon compounds, as well as the 70th anniversary of Dow Corning Corp., which manufactures them into products. Organosilicon compounds have many uses in household compounds, such as caulk, and industrial applications including as surfactants in agriculture.
Open to the Public
While the conference was a paid, pre-registered event, three chemistry-related art and history special exhibits are open to the public in the Park Library and the Clarke Historical Library.
On display in Park Library's Baber Room is "Images of The Dow Chemical Company from the Brush of Arthur Knighton-Hammond," a commissioned exhibit on loan from the Dow Foundation. The paintings (circa 1920-21) depict the early years of the Dow plant in Midland.
The Clarke Historical Library features special exhibits on "Drilling for Brine: The Dow Chemical Plant in Mount Pleasant, 1903-1930" and the history of the Midland Section of ACS. The discovery of brine relatively rich in bromine in Mount Pleasant and Midland, convinced Herbert H. Dow to establish chemical processing plants in both locations.
Summer hours of the Clarke Historical Library are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Park Library's summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Chemistry major and Science of Advanced Materials student Phillip Medina receives a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
April 30, 2013 - Senior and chemistry major Phillip Medina recently received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This highly competitive, multi-year award will provide him with $30,000 per year to help cover his graduate school expenses.
Medina will continue his education at CMU and has already enrolled as a graduate student in the Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) program, where he plans to continue his research on lithium-ion batteries with chemistry professor and SAM researcher Bradley Fahlman, searching for methods to increase the potential capacity of the batteries through the use of porous silicon and vertically aligned nanowires.
The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.
NSF received over 13,000 submitted applications for the 2013 competition. Medina was one of only 2,000 recipients who received an award.
Mueller develops water filtration method targeting contaminants
April 25, 2013 - CMU associate professor of chemistry, Anja Mueller, has developed a water filtration method that targets contaminants including perchlorates in water - a technology that currently does not exist on the market. Perchlorates have been linked to certain cancers and developmental delays and are extremely dangerous to pregnant women and infants. Mueller developed a patent for the filtration technology and partnered with CMU Research Corporation to license and commercialize the product, which is expected to hit stores later this year.
Howell receives international award for work in thermal analysis
April 22, 2013 - Central Michigan University professor of chemistry and polymer science Bob Howell has received the 2012 North American Thermal Analysis Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in thermal analysis research.
"Thermal analysis has to do with just the response of materials to a change in temperature," Howell said. "You can learn about the structure of the material based on the way it responds, and so that's the fundamental technique."
Howell applies his research in a number of ways, focusing primarily on studying polymer degradation at different temperature ranges. For example, his research to address the issue of foul taste and brown streaking in milk jugs - and his proposed solution - helped reduce the cost of milk production and was considered particularly noteworthy by the society.
The solution to issues with milk containers linked back to Howell's research with The Dow Chemical Co., where in the mid-1980s he was asked by Dow to experiment with using polymeric materials in food packaging, and successfully adapted the materials to stop the streaking.
Most containers are made with different layers of various polymer materials, each with a different composition. The elimination of the streaking allows the milk to be stored at room temperature. "Because no oxygen gets in, the milk doesn't spoil," Howell said.
Howell has also worked to remove odors from degrading polystyrene, the plastic material used in packaging food, such as cookies and pastries.
The Outstanding Achievement award from NATAS is unique to a university of CMU's size. Given annually, it recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of thermal analysis, including but not restricted to thermogravimetry, differential thermal methods and effluent gas analysis. The award recipient must have performed outstanding work in the utilization, creation or refinement of thermal techniques of generally wide interest and impact.
Howell is the 44th recipient of this award, which represents the highest honor bestowed by the Society.
Fahlman selected to be Contributing Editor for InterNano
April 11, 2013 - Professor of chemistry and Science of Advanced Materials researcher Bradley Fahlman has been selected to be a Contributing Editor for InterNano, a project of the National Nanomanufacturing Network. Fahlman will generate original content about topics in nanomanufacturing and write expert reviews based on relevant and recent news in the industry.
Nanomanufacturing is the controllable manipulation of materials structures, components, devices and systems at the nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometers) in one, two and three dimensions for large-scale reproducibility of value-added components and devices. It remains the essential bridge between the discoveries of the nanosciences and real-world nanotechnology products.
The National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) is an alliance of academic, government and industry partners that cooperate to advance nanomanufacturing strength in the U.S. and serves as a catalyst for progress by facilitating and promoting workshops, roadmapping, inter-institutional collaborations, technology transition, test beds and information exchange services.
Chappaz publishes article in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
April 11, 2013 - Assistant professor of geochemistry Anthony Chappaz, along with co-principal investigator Dr. Jennifer Glass from the California Institute of Technology, recently published in the recognized geochemistry journal, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Their article is entitled "Molybdenum geochemistry in a seasonally dysoxic Mo-limited lacustrine ecosystem."
Molybenum (Mo) and nitrogen biogeochemistry are intrinsically associated, with Mo being required for the nitrogenase process to occur. The research site, Castle Lake in northern California, had previously been widely studied regarding nitrogen biogeochemistry, however Chappaz's research is the first of its kind to focus specifically on Mo, and sheds new light on the Mo sources influencing this lake. It also is the first to provide Mo isotopes' measurement for a dysoxic environment.
More details about this article and Dr. Chappaz's research can be found by visiting his GEM Lab website
Chemistry professor Brad Fahlman selected as a 2013 IUPAC Young Observer
March 20, 2013 - Chemistry professor Brad Fahlman has been selected as a 2013 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Young Observer.
The National Academy of Sciences is the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the IUPAC. The committee selects outstanding U.S. chemists under the age of 45 with interests and expertise related to the work of IUPAC to become involved in the work of the union, develop and international network of scientists and engineers, and represent U.S. colleagues in the chemical sciences. To date, the program has supported over 200 scientists, many of whom have continued to serve on IUPAC activities and contribute at the international level.
As a selected Young Observer, Fahlman will attend the 44th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and 47th IUPAC General Assembly from August 8-16 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The IUPAC Young Observer program is extremely competitive and held once every two years. Less than a dozen U.S. chemists are chosen to participate.
Chemistry faculty member among those to receive university honors at Faculty Excellence Exhibition
March 14, 2013 - Central Michigan University will honor several outstanding faculty at the 2013 Faculty Excellence Exhibition at 3 p.m. March 20 in the Park Library Auditorium. President's and Provost's Awards, Excellence in Teaching Awards and the Lorrie Ryan Memorial Teaching Award will be given to 11 faculty members.
Among the recipients is a CST chemistry faculty member - receiving honors for her excellence in teaching.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Created by the Academic Senate to provide special recognition to faculty members who exceed the usual standards and expectations.
- Kathy Blystone, chemistry, shows her enthusiasm for the subject using real-life examples to demonstrate how chemistry impacts students' lives every day.
Two biochemistry students in the running to receive elite national scholarship
March 7, 2013 - Amanda Clark and Randall Hoyle, both biochemistry majors, are two of CMU's four Goldwater Scholarship nominees this year.
Each is one of the nearly 1,100 college and university students across the nation to be nominated.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986, and is the namesake of Barry M. Goldwater, who served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. The award is given annually to approximately 300 college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate excellence in their fields and are committed to pursuing a career in mathematics, engineering or natural sciences. Each institution is permitted to nominate up to four candidates each year.
Amanda Clark is a sophomore from Three Oaks majoring in biochemistry. She is vice president of the CMU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society and a CMU McNair Scholar.
Clark has been working under CMU associate professor of chemistry Choon Lee for about a year. Dr. Lee's lab is working on the organic synthesis of antioxidant dendrimers, with the goal of creating a new antioxidant dendrimer which will be more effective against free radicals than those naturally occurring, helping to prevent cancer and other diseases.
Another professor noticed Clark's interest in being involved in research on the synthesis of new medicines, and suggested that she contact Dr. Lee. She started off in Lee's lab cleaning beakers and shadowing graduate students, and was gradually assigned more responsibility in the lab, such as learning how to run column chromatography to purify the antioxidant dendrimers being made.
Clark says the money from the Goldwater Scholarship would help ease some of the financial burdens of school. With both of her parents deceased, she bears the full responsibility of financing her education. Winning a scholarship would allow her to give up her part-time job and spend more time on her research and studies.
Clark plans to earn a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry or pharmacology and pursue as career as a researcher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - or another cancer institute - and work to develop better treatments for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Randall Hoyle is a junior Honors student from Midland majoring in biochemistry, and a member of the CMU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society.
Hoyle has been working with CMU associate professor of chemistry Minghui Chai since the end of his freshman year and the summer of 2011. His research focuses on using dendrimers - commercially available hyper-branched polymers - with commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to improve their efficiency and reduce side effects.
It was Dr. Chai who encouraged Hoyle to apply for the scholarship, after hearing from a college at another university who recently had two students win the award. During her time at CMU she had been searching for a student qualified enough to compete, and found one in Hoyle.
Winning the Goldwater Scholarship would enable Hoyle to live in Mount Pleasant during the summer and focus exclusively on his research. "It's expensive living here in the summer," Hoyle said. "I tried working as a painter last summer and spent all of my time and energy on my job and not on my research."
Outside the lab, Hoyle is an active musician. He has played the trumpet in the CMU Marching Band for 3 years and is currently a rank captain. He is also a member of the CMU basketball band, and for the past 5 years or so, has been in the rock band, Archana, with his sister, brother and two other close friends.
Despite the long application process, Hoyle says he is thankful for the opportunity and remains optimistic, hoping to be the first CMU student to earn the scholarship. "I've had a lot of support from my family and friends, from Dr. Chai, and from the university, and I appreciate it all," Hoyle says. "Fingers crossed. I think this is going to be our year."
Hoyle plans to earn a Ph.D. in biochemistry and work in the private sector to develop new medicines.
Graduate assistant Pratik Chhetri wants to 'make the world a better place' with research about chemotherapy
February 20, 2013 - Pratik Chhetri believes health is a human right. An M.S. candidate in the Department of Chemistry working with professor Bob Howell, he researches platinum-based, anti-cancer medicine to find out how to reduce the side effects of those treatments, such as nausea and hair loss from chemotherapy. Click here to read more about Chhetri's experience.
Chappaz publishes article in Environmental Science & Technology
February 19, 2013 - Assistant professor Anthony Chappaz
and his collaborator, Dr. Jeff Curtis from the University of British Columbia - Okanagan, just published a research article entitled, "Integrating Empirically Dissolved Organic Matter Quality for WHAM VI
using the DOM Optical Properties: A Case Study of Cu-A1-DOM Interactions," in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. They demonstrated that the type of dissolved organic matter (DOM), as well as the A1 competition, affect the Cu complexation by DOM. More importantly, they provide a new method to integrate these changes for the widely used software, WHAM, that predicts metal speciation (and therefore toxicity) in aquatic systems.
More details about this article and Dr. Chappaz's research can be found by visiting his GEM Lab website
Chappaz publishes article in Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta
January 21, 2013 - Assistant professor Anthony Chappaz
and his collaborators from the University of Southern Denmark,
Princeton University and University of California - Riverside, just
published in the recognized geochemistry journal Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta. Their article is entitled "Molybdenum
reduction in a sulfidic lake: Evidence from X-ray absorption
fine-structure spectroscopy and implications for the Mo paleoproxy."
More details about this article and Dr. Chappaz's research can be found by visiting his GEM Lab website
CMU chapter of the American Chemical Society named Outstanding for 8th year
November 13, 2012 - The CMU chapter of the American Chemical Society is making a name for itself nationally.
At the 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, La. on April 7, 2013, the chapter will receive its eighth consecutive Outstanding Chapter Award. There are more than 1,000 ACS chapters nationally, and less than five percent receive the Outstanding Chapter Award.
For the 2011-12 academic year, ACS received 362 reports from student chapters. The Society Committee on Education presented 46 outstanding, 81 commendable and 114 honorable mention awards. Lists of award-winning chapters will be published in Chemical & Engineering News and in the November/December issue of inChemistry, the student member magazine.
ACS students have opportunities to connect with area youth through chemistry demonstrations and lessons, and membership in the chapter is not limited to students majoring in chemistry.
Chemistry associate professor Dale LeCaptain and chemistry lab coordinator Sharyl Majorski serve as faculty advisors of the CMU chapter.
ACS is the largest scientific organization in the world and is one of the many student organizations throughout the College of Science and Technology.
Graduate students win awards at AISES 2012 National Conference
November 12, 2012 - Chemistry graduate student Pratik Chhetri
and Science of Advanced Materials graduate student Phillip Medina
recently traveled to Anchorage, Alaska and attended the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's 2012 National Conference.
Medina won first place at the conference for his research poster titled, "Precursor Design for the Atomic Layer Deposition of Hafnium Oxide Thin Films," and took home a $1,500 award. His research abstract stated:
continued advancement of Moore’s Law will require improved materials to prevent
dielectric breakdown in the ever diminishing transistor gates of
microelectronics. Hafnium oxide thin films present attractive gate properties
with a dielectric constant eight times that of silicon oxide and are already
being used by industry leaders such as IBM, Texas Instruments, and NEC. Atomic
layer deposition (ALD) provides a means of controlled film formation for
hafnium transistor dielectrics. ALD processes require a volatile precursor to
bring the metal to the substrate in the vapor phase. Herein, we explore the
volatility of several hafnium complexes and their use as precursors for
ALD. Specifically, we examine
k-diketiminato ligand with N-methyl/C-methyl substituents & synthesis of
corresponding mono- & bis-diketiminato-bis-chloro hafnium (IV) complexes as
well as mono- & bis-diketiminato-bis-dimethylamino hafnium (IV) complexes.
Furthermore, the effect of precursor and deposition temperature will be
analyzed on resultant ALD film composition and uniformity."
Medina is a Ph.D. student in CST's Science of Advanced Materials program where professor of chemistry Brad Fahlman is his faculty advisor.
Chhetri took second place Honorable Mention for his oral presentation about "Encouraging Healthy Behaviors among American Indian Youth: A Multidisciplinary Pilot Mentoring Program," and won $200.
In his talk, Chhetri addressed the problem of American Indians and Alaskan Natives having the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the United States, along
with high rates of alcohol and substance abuse, mental health disorders,
suicide, violence and behavior-related chronic diseases. In 2010, recognizing a
need for coordinated intervention and as a local response to this growing
issue, undergraduate and graduate student members of CMU’s chapters of the
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), AISES, and the Native and
Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO) organized a multidisciplinary team of
researchers and advocates to focus on reducing the existing healthcare disparities
in Native communities in both central and northern Michigan. Currently, the
“Native American Health Working Group” (NAHWG) consists of students and
professionals with training and expertise in STEM, sociology, anthropology,
medicine, healthcare delivery and education. This team has designed a mentoring
program – beginning in January 2013 – in which CMU Native American students
will participate in educational and cultural activities with nearby Saginaw
Chippewa elementary school children, with the aim of increasing healthy
behaviors and choices among American Indian children under the guidance of
successful (Native and non-Native) college students.
Chhetri is working on his master's degree in chemistry.
The mission of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is to substantially increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in engineering, science and other technology-related disciplines.
Held annually since 1978, the AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three-day event convening high school juniors and seniors, college and graduate students, teachers, workforce professionals and corporate partners. Held in a different North American city each fall, the conference includes professional development, networking opportunities, student presentations and awards.
AISES is the only professional society established by and for American Indian and Alaskan Natives that specifically emphasizes lifelong learning and educational achievement by utlizing cultural aspects with STEM. Members from over 200 tribal nations are represented with AISES and supported by the partnership of corporate, government, academic and tribal decision-makers.